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Veteran’s – our service is still needed

When I was a kid, it seemed like all the older gentlemen of the community were members of the American Legion or the Veterans of Foreign Wars. With all the veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and even a smattering of elders who were World War I vets, these organizations seemed to thrive and be ever-present in our communities. Today it seems to be a different story with these organizations struggling to continue on, not just nationally, but right here at home in Milam County as well.

It’s estimated that our veteran community here in Milam County is approaching 1,600 veterans. Overall, veterans make up about 6 percent of the U.S. Population and that 1,600 puts Milam County right on par with the rest of the country. For this reason alone, I felt it necessary to reestablish the Veterans Service Office last year after it was rather unceremoniously removed from the budget the year prior to my taking office. Last April, we hired Alan and Crystal Smith and they have been working tirelessly in handling claims and working with our county veterans and their families to get them the help they need and the compensation they earned and deserve for their service to our great nation.

American Legions and VFWs provide for their fellow veterans by providing services such as representing veterans in state capitals and Washington D.C., donating money and materials to military families in crisis, scholarships for college, 2,300 VA accredited representatives helping to recoup lost veteran’s benefits from the VA, grants for military families facing financial hardships, sponsor youth sports leagues and scouting, provides mental health services working to stem the tide of veteran suicides, helps with homeless vets, and works with the youth of America to increase their understanding of how government works and why that knowledge is important to our future. 

These are but a few of the many ways in which these organizations work for a better future for everyone as well as our veterans. Many people think of the American Legion, or the VFW and they think of a place where a group of old veterans sit around in their posts’ canteens drinking and talking about old times, but what they miss is all the things those old veterans are doing.

Veterans are the backbone of this country and for the last century the American Legion and VFWs around the nation have given these veterans the opportunity to continue that service not only to their fellow veterans, but to their communities as well. Sadly, these organizations have seen a decline in recent years causing many to shut down and cease to exist. At one time in Milam County, there were many of these groups, but today there are only four left. VFW Posts 2010 and 6525 in Cameron and Rockdale, and American Legion Post 9 in Cameron and Post 358 in Rockdale. 

If I had to guess, I think each of those posts might only have about 50 members each, and some of those members are like me, a member of multiple posts. So, as I write this article having just come in from the Milam County Memorial Day Ceremony here on the courthouse lawn, I implore all my fellow veterans out there to join one, or both of these organizations today and continue your service to your fellow veterans, your community, and your country. Memorial Day is about remembering those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and as I sat there during the ceremony recalling those friends that I lost in the service, I thought about how much more each of us who came home safe can do to make things better.



The Cameron Herald

The Cameron Herald
P.O. Box 1230
Cameron, Texas 76520

Phone: 254-697-6671
Fax: 254-697-4902